Talk about flex scheduling.
A blizzard that ripped through the Twin Cities forced the Giants and the NFL to call an audible Saturday.
The Giants' flight to Minneapolis Saturday was diverted to Kansas City, where the team spent an unplanned night, and the Giants-Vikings game itself was rescheduled for a spur-of-the-moment Monday Nighter.
Saturday night, the league and the teams were putting the finishing touches on details such as the time for kickoff (8 p.m. EST) and how the game will be aired on television (Fox in both broadcast markets).
The primary concern that prompted moving the game, which originally was scheduled for a 1 p.m. EST start Sunday, was the accumulation of dangerous amounts of snow on the roof of Mall of America Field, a league source said Saturday night. High winds in the area prevented workers from ascending the roof to remove the snow that was dumped on the area.
"Due to the severe weather conditions and on the recommendation of Metrodome officials, the Giants-Vikings game will be moved to Monday night," the NFL said in a statement.
The move has serious football ramifications. It allows Brett Favre to have about 36 more hours to rest and prepare his ailing shoulder for a possible 298th straight regular-season start. It also gives the Giants a chance to have some of their key players in better shape - receivers Steve Smith and Hakeem Nicks, both coming back from injuries, are listed as probable - but it also forces the Giants to face a short upcoming week with an important game against the Eagles looming next Sunday.
The move to Monday night came late Saturday night, the final tweak in a confusing day. The Giants began their journey by leaving about three hours earlier than originally planned in an effort to beat the snow to Minneapolis. That decision was made Friday. But they did not leave early enough. Several feet of snow fell on the Minneapolis airport, which closed all four of its runways at about noon Saturday.
The league seemed insistent on starting the game as scheduled at 1 p.m. EST Sunday, and the Giants seemed to go along with that plan. After spending the night in Kansas City, they were scheduled to depart that airport at 9 a.m. EST and arrive in Minneapolis at about 10. That would have given them three hours to get to the stadium and prepare for the game.
According to league sources, the plan for most of the day Saturday was to move the game to a 4 p.m. start only if the Giants arrived in Minneapolis any later than 10 a.m. But at about 10 p.m. Saturday, it was decided that the game would be moved to Monday night.
This is the second time in five years that a Giants game has been moved from a Sunday to a Monday night. In 2005, a game against the Saints had to be rescheduled because of Hurricane Katrina. That game was moved to New York, where the Saints played as the home team. The Giants-Vikings location will not be moved. The last NFL game to be rescheduled was a Texans-Ravens game in early 2008 that was played several weeks later - when both teams had a bye - because of damage to Reliant Stadium from Hurricane Ike.